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european christmas markets

Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 09:28 PM
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european christmas markets

My husband and I are starting to plan a trip to the european christmas markets. Does anyone have any suggestions as to which cities best to visit? We haven't decided to do it on our own or take a tour. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thank you!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 11:02 PM
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Rothenburg has a great Christmas market, as the whole walled city gets in on the act. Munich and Augsburg have huge markets, but they're a bit crowded for my tastes.

I prefer the smaller towns of Garmisch and Mittenwald.
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Feb 23rd, 2009, 12:37 AM
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Hi jesuislisa,

Not sure how much you've researched Christmas markets, so here's a link to loads of information, just in case it's all new to you:

The site also had descriptions of each town's market, and links to more information.

Like Melnq8, I also like the smaller towns of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Mittenwald, though you have to realize that their markets are teensy-tiny! I moved to Garmisch-P late last year, and I was pretty surprised that the market had so few booths -- and most were for food. Of course, Kaethe Wohlfahrt has a store here, so that alone will get you in the Christmas mood!

Also like Melnq8, I also liked Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber because the whole town envelopes you in the Christmas spirit. Taking the Watchman's Tour on a chilly winter night is really evokative, too.

I've heard great things about the Augsberg and the Nuremberg markets.

Don't neglect the market in Dresden (another one I haven't been to yet), which is said to be the oldest and most popular.

Good luck!

swandav2000 is online now  
Old Feb 23rd, 2009, 12:55 AM
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swandav - You live in Garmisch? I'm seriously jealous. I forgot to mention that the markets in the smaller towns are often only open on the weekends, or sometimes just a specific weekend, whereas the larger markets are open on a regular basis during the holiday season.

One year we stumbled upon a nice little market in Berchtesgaden - it was a one day affair, tiny, and completely local, but it was a lot of fun.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2009, 01:27 AM
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Oooh yes, finally. Been wanting to do this for a few decades, so last year I finally did it. Lots and lots of sticker shock, and of course this is the very worst time in the history of the world to make any kind of move whatever.

But -- I'm extraordinarily happy! I can't afford to ski this year, but I've been out wandering the winter walking trails -- it's my kind of fun! Also fun to take a quick weekend in Zürich for about 500E (special train fares and a cheapie hotel).

I see you're now in Australia! Must be great there too!

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Old Feb 23rd, 2009, 02:22 AM
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We've been to Bruges and Strasbourg Christmas markets and enjoyed both. You can see our trip report in my profile! Both were great, Strasbourg was quite a bit bigger and you could also do Baden Baden from there as well.

Have fun!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2009, 02:29 AM
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swandav - no complaints here, although it's a wee bit hot for my tastes. We're looking forward to some cooler weather when we visit Switzerland for two weeks in April. Loooong trip though...
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Old Feb 23rd, 2009, 05:50 AM
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We toured some Christmas Markets in Germany this year and previously lived in Nürnberg where there is a very large one. It is great to have something to do in the late evening as the sun sets very early in Germany in December. That said, I would pick the places that I wanted to visit by other things to do during the day, as there is a certain sameness to the various markets.

Rothenburg is a nice stop as they turn the whole town into a Christmas Market, every one of the hundreds of tourist stores selling Christmas items. Rothenburg is beautiful to visit anytime but nicer in the off season. The first week in December was not bad.

We luckily visited Würzburg while an artist market and a medieval market (in the fortress, Marienberg Festung) were being held. It made for a nice change and I love Würzburg in any case.

Bamberg's market was small but the town is a real pleasure for walking and sightseeing. We were also blessed with a little light snow there.

Regards, Gary
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Old Feb 23rd, 2009, 08:10 AM
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I have been to the German Christmas markets the last 4 years. Obviously I enjoy them very much.For the last 3 years I have gone with a company called Gerhard's Odysseys. He (and his wife) take small groups and take care of them very well. We always stay just on or off the town square so you are able to easily go to the market or town and back to your room on your own schedule. (People here will say "Don't go with a tour because you will have to have your bag out at 7:30". That is not true with Gerhard - maybe on a rare occasion.) But in the wintertime I think a tour is the perfect way to see several markets/towns. And it is so nice to have everything planned for you so you can just enjoy yourself.
Some of my favorite markets (towns) are: Munich, Nuremberg, Dresden, Annaberg and many years ago we went to Bad Wimpfen. There is plenty of info on the forum on Christmas markets.
If you want to take a look at Gerhard's tours, the website is I think this year's schedule will be posted in March. But you can see the itineraries for last year. Have a great trip! (How can you miss?) CJ
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Old Feb 23rd, 2009, 11:54 AM
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Thanks to all of you for your replies! These will surely help us plan. I can't wait to go!!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2009, 01:01 PM
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I posted a German advent report we did in Dec. of 2006 visiting about 13 markets in 9 cities over 3 weeks starting in Bonn and Koln and heading east finishing in Bautzen near the Polish border. I believe you can click on my name to retrieve this report, if the new format still allows this. Our favorite was..... all of them.
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 08:01 AM
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There is a useful website called which gives information on all Christmas markets throughout all of Europe including numerous in the UK. Definitely worth a visit.
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 03:53 PM
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In Germany the Christmas market in Dresden has the biggest reputation - I haven't been myself but many of the other Christmas markets sell intricately carved wooden stands for candles and these are supposed to be originally from Dresden also. (I think Stollen might originally come from Dresden - correct me if I'm wrong, I just don't remember). The market at Nuremberg (Nürnberg) also has a good reputation, but I didn't think it was any better than any of the others I have since visited, and I used to live in Germany so have had the opportunity to visit quite a few. Many cities have stands in more than one location so odds are that if you visit a big city there could be a few different sites.

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Old Jul 25th, 2009, 12:14 PM
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Hi Jes -

I took a Christmas Market river cruise along the Danube with Grand Circle Travel and had a ball. It's a pretty good value because it includes your airfare, cruise, and 3 meals a day. My cabin was very clean, the staff was very helpful, and the food was quite good. The cruise that I took started in Vienna and ended in Nuremberg. If you decide to go on your own, my favorite markets were in Salzburg and Nuremberg. Hope that helps, and have a wonderful time!
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Old Jul 25th, 2009, 12:30 PM
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I've so wanted to do a Christmas Markets trip to Germany...Great thread...
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Old Sep 5th, 2009, 09:27 PM
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I want to thank everyone for all your wonderful replies and for the links!! It has helped us so much and I'm happy to say we leave in early december!! So thanks to all of you!!
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Old Sep 5th, 2009, 10:07 PM
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Just to give you an idea of the multitude of markets available in just one area - the Rhine / Main region, have a look at this list. The small, 1-2 day markets are listed first. Some of them can be quite nice that are held in castles. For example Buedingen, held in the castle moat. Here they use lanterns and torches for a medieval feel.

* 27-29 Nov. Ruesselsheim Fortress Yuletide Arts & Crafts Market
* 27-29 Nov. & 4-6 Dec. Hadamar, Castle Square Christmas Market
* 28-29 Nov.& 4-6 Dec.& 12-13 Dec. Ronneburg Historical Christmas Market
* 28-29 Nov. Ober-Moerlen Christmas Market at the Castle Courtyard
* 28-29 Nov. Butzbach Christmas Market
* 28 Nov. Bad Homburg v.d. Hoehe 11th Bad Homburg Christmas Festival
* 28 Nov. Waechtersbach City Center Christmas Market
* 28-29 Nov. & 5-6 Dec. Langen Christmas Market
* 28-30 Nov. Langenselbold, Castle Grounds Christmas Market
* 28-30 Nov. Bad Camberg Christmas Market

* 4-6 Dec. Buedingen Old Town Christmas Market
* 4-6 Dec. Koenigstein Christmas Market in the Spa Park
* 4-6 Dec. Schluechtern Christmas Market
* 5-6 Dec. Idstein Christmas Market
* 5-6 Dec. Hoffheim am Taunus Advent Market
* 5-6 Dec. Heusenstamm St. Nicholas Market
* 5-6 Dec. Muehlheim am Main Old Town Christmas Market
* 5-6 Dec. Bad Soden Christmas Market in the Old Spa Park
* 5-6 Dec. Neu-Isenburg Old Town, Market Square Christmas Market
* 6 Dec. Kronberg St. Nicholas at the Opel Zoo
* 5-6 Dec.& 12-13 Dec. Dreieich-Dreieichenhain Hayn Castle Christmas Market
* 11-13 Dec. Steinau Christmas Market at the Castle, City Center, Town Hall
* 11-13 Dec. Bad Vilbel Christmas Market at the Moated Castle
* 12-13 Dec.& 19-20 Dec. Weilburg Christmas Market
* 12-13 Dec. Kronberg Christmas Market
* 18-20 Dec. Bad Nauheim, Sprudelhof Christmas Market

Now the longer markets

* 23 Nov.- 23 Dec. Offenbach Located around City Hall
* 23 Nov.- 23 Dec. Darmstadt Located at Market Square
* 24 Nov.- 23 Dec. Wiesbaden Located at Castle Square - City Hall
* 25 Nov.- 22 Dec. Frankfurt Located at the Roemerberg Town Square
* 26 Nov.- 22 Dec. Aschaffenburg Located at Castle Square
* 27 Nov.- 23 Dec. Limburg
* 28 Nov.- 20 Dec. Bad Homburg v.d.Hoehe Romantic Christmas Market at the Castle
* 28 Nov.- 13 Dec. Seligenstadt Located at Market Square
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Old Sep 6th, 2009, 07:48 AM
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" (I think Stollen might originally come from Dresden - correct me if I'm wrong, I just don't remember). The market at Nuremberg (Nürnberg) also has a good reputation, but I didn't think it was any better..."

Ah, but lebkuchen not only originated in Nuremberg, but the place is still stuffed with lebkuchen factories. There's even an official EU Designation of Origin for Nuremberg gingerbread.

And what could be Xmasy-er?
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 10:19 AM
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"Ah, but lebkuchen not only originated in Nuremberg, but the place is still stuffed with lebkuchen factories. There's even an official EU Designation of Origin for Nuremberg gingerbread.

And what could be Xmasy-er"

How about a Nuremberg sausage from one of the many stands in area! Yummy! And add some hot gluewein.......or better yet a bit of Ansbach-Uralt to fend off the "Krampuss"! (sp?)
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Old Oct 19th, 2009, 06:20 AM
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I am in the process of putting togther our final itinerary for a trip to Dresden and Prague for end of Nov& early Dec 2009. I am interested to hear from anyone about Christmas markets in the Dresden area, near Seiffen and/or Leipzig, etc. I am really interested in nutcrackers and would love to be able to pick up a Steinbach nutcracker, are the prices any lower near their plant in the Ore mountain area? If we were to drive (versus taking trains) is there a route from Dresden (where our flight lands) to Prague that we could work in several of the mountain markets? (also suggestions for overnight stay etc). I know this is asking for a LOT of info, but anything will help!! Thanks so much in advance.
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